The Challenge


A picture taken on that night…

indigo-signature-bannerEmily understands how people could sell their souls. There is a kind of wanting that is so severe that the possibility of its being unfulfilled is unthinkable. Any price is reasonable, any demands will be met, and failure is not an option.

That is why it took roughly fourteen seconds to smile at, befriend and plead with the girl at the table next to her to provide a cigarette. By the fifteenth second she was inhaling, and with her exhale came the first genuine relaxation she had felt all night.

It was a perfect moment. The gin and tonic had a neat slice of lime in it, the evening was politely cool, and the river flowed beneath the edge of the pub providing a perfect view of the city she was being introduced to.

challenge3Earlier in the evening they had walked along the edge of the river, dipping in and out of streets, finding a path to the water and back again. He had pointed out buildings that he had shown her days before from a distant hill, the major landmarks of a great city. She had tried her best to commit each detail to memory, to build an inner map; she wanted to know what he knew, she wanted to know him as he knew the city.

Emily knew that no matter what happened between them, this city would forever be him. She would see its towers and streets as tales from his life always. And as she walked she was finding her own story in this place.

The view in front of her as she smoked was an illusion. It had taken Stephen ten long minutes to explain how the river twisted behind the buildings she saw in front of her.

He had not said that at first. He had said, “That is not the other side of the river.”

She had squinted and laughed. It had taken time, but eventually she managed to wrangle meaning from his explanation. They laughed at themselves and each other, each thinking the other slightly silly for not being clearer in the first place.

Each time she touched the glowing stick to her lips, a delicious sensation ran through her. It could have been the nicotine easing itself into her cells, it could have been the relief of getting her own way, or it could have been the final element of a perfect evening slipping into place. She briefly toyed with the idea of flicking the cigarette into the river after three drags, but realised that there was no hiding this from him. Vehement anti-smokers were always excellent detectors of smoke, so he would smell it on her. Emily’s smile slipped from her face as she realised she could not kiss him for at least an hour. It would take that long to get back to his place and to her toothbrush. No pushing herself up on tip toes and reaching for his lips, no tempting him into returning her passion.  She dejectedly put the burning stick to her lips, a poor substitute for his mouth. But still, she inhaled the smoke into her lungs and exhaled the pale cloud into the indigo night.

Stephen came back far more quickly that she could have ever expected. The bar had been busy, she was sure. He should have been at least ten more minutes.  She sat stock still, her hand holding the cigarette right by her face as she smiled at him. It took him a full five seconds to see it.

They were good seconds, but too good to last. He looked at the smoking evidence and incredulously at her. Emily smiled a hopeful smile.

“It is a lovely evening, isn’t it?” she said. “No, you can’t …” as he reached across the table and took it from her hands. She looked briefly at the next table, “They will see …” she started and stopped as she watched him inexpertly stub the cigarette out.

He looked at her, holding her eyes with his as she struggled to free herself. After a few moments he let her go, a subtle gesture that allowed her to wrestle her eyes away from his and look at the river. It was dark inky blue now, with the yellow and orange lights of the city reflecting on its moving waters. She glanced back at him.

He had not moved. “You are in so much trouble.”

Stephen did not even bother to lower his voice, and blushing as she was she could not look at the girls on the next table for fear they had heard him.  Emily wished she could hold his hand and hide from him. She wished she could find a switch somewhere and turn him off, or down, or something to alter this part of him. She tried twice to explain why she had succumbed, but each time he responded that he did not care, and Emily let it go because she knew he would have no qualms about explaining loudly and clearly just how much trouble she was in.

And that is how she found herself later with her chin in his hand, trying desperately to avoid looking at his hard blue eyes as he spoke in a calm, quiet voice about her attitude. He told her she had been childish, and his words twisted into her. He always treated her like a woman, like the woman she had always wanted to be, and yet here he was, telling her how childish and silly she had been.

It was only then, when he spoke, that she wanted not to behave as she had. She wanted to have been better, she wanted to separate herself from the girl he described, but it was too late. He had her.

Hideously he tipped her forward, over his knee so she faced only the carpet. He always spanked her like this when she was in trouble. She much preferred the bed, where she could rest her legs and her top half in comfort. There was more dignity in that, unlike this tentative position, this (she squeezed her eyes shut with the realisation) childish position. The first strike of the heavy, long leather paddle made her screech out.

It had to be the fact that it was the first one, she thought. It will get easier.

But it did not get easier, and her position was not in the least tentative. She kicked and pushed against his calves she begged and bucked up and down; she cried out and tried to prise his left hand from her waist. The strokes were hard and each one burned her swollen bum. She twisted and turned as well as she could, and used all her strength to get away from his punishment.

“I can’t,” she begged at last, “I can’t take it.”

But Stephen said nothing, abandoning words in preference for the piece of leather that was an extension of his arm.

There was more afterwards. There was much more. There was time in the corner, an ignoble waiting room where she submitted, fidgeted, raged, and submitted all over again. There was a settling of an overdue account by the cane method.

challenge2The cane was long and wicked, and the strokes were more than she ever thought she could have taken. But she took them because he would not let her do otherwise. There was nothing complex about the situation.

But if you could have held Emily as Stephen did, if you could have let her head rest on your shoulder as he did and listened to her as he did, you would have heard her. She would have clung on tightly, tenderly whispering a thousand apologies and conciliations.

And much, much later, had you held her eyes with yours and looked deeply there, if you had silently asked what it was that had reached her, she would have blushed and smiled at the floor. She could not tell you, so deeply does the moment still hold her. She waits for the moment to release her.

She suspects it may never release her, but she does not struggle anymore.


7 Responses to “The Challenge”

  1. 1 George

    Any adult daughter, I mean over 25 yo, wishing to share her disciplinary experience with her wise parents?

    • 2 DJ

      There are billions George – more than you can shake a stick at! Some even comment over at Sometimes a Girl…

  2. 3 MrJ

    This is beautifully, written – shifting emotions, evolving thinking – many grave to go though it, rarely has it been so well described.

  3. 4 paul1510

    you do this so well, such a pleasure to read.

  4. Beautifully written with such elegance. Thank You! Your writing is s always… Inspirational. Peace and Love to you and DJ.

  5. 6 Lily

    Brava, Indigo.

  6. 7 DJ

    Thanks everyone 🙂

    I changed my password so until she cracks it again and borrows my login I have to speak for her. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: